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Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

Grayson Cason, a Lake City Fixture for 18 Years, Is Retiring: "Lake City is My Hometown"

Assistant City Manager, Grayson Cason, sitting at the table in the front of the City Council chambers.
Grayson Cason is a man who didn't make waves, but worked quietly in the background.

 

LAKE CITY, FL – For the last few years, if one attended a Lake City, City Council meeting, sitting at the table off to the left in the front of the room along with the City's Director of Finance, was Assistant City Manager Grayson Cason. After 18 years with Lake City, Mr. Cason is retiring on May 31.

 

"Lake City is My Hometown"

Last week your reporter had a conversation with Mr. Cason about his background and tenure with the City of Lake City, and his plans for the future.

The first thing Mr. Cason said was, "Lake City is my home. I was born in Lake Shore Hospital."

He continued, "I graduated from Columbia High School, Lake City Community College, Sante Fe Community College, and Jacksonville University."

What was your work background before you came to work at the City?

Mr. Cason answered, "I worked in the forest products and paper industry for twenty-eight years. Then moved back to Lake City and began work with the City of Lake Cy as a project manager."

The new Lake City airport terminal on opening day.
Mr. Cason considers the City Airport improvements as one of his biggest accomplishments while at the City. See:  Lake City Gateway Airport Enters The 21st Century With A New And Improved Air Terminal

Mr. Cason said a few of his more well known projects included the Public Safety Building (LCPD headquarters), the Olustee Park renovation across from City Hall, and the Southside Recreation Complex adult softball fields.

A few years ago, Columbia County took over the management and ownership of the South Side Sports Complex from the City.

In 2006, after the sudden resignation of then City Manager Scott Reynolds, Mr. Cason was appointed interim City Manager and served in that position for 6 months. Mr. Cason then resumed his project manager duties and "provided for some financial accounting services within the finance department."

During the tenure of City Manager Wendell Johnson, Mr. Cason moved to Director of Administrative Service and then to Assistant City Manager. In both jobs he was in charge of what went on in City Hall.

In 2018, upon the retirement of City Manager Johnson, Mr. Cason was again appointed and served as Interim City Manager during the city manager search.

After City Manager Joe Helfenberger was hired, Mr. Cason returned to his job as Assistant City Manager.

Mr. Cason cited a couple of his accomplishments, with Enterprise Fleet Leasing being at the top of his list. Mr. Cason said that the leasing of the City's general purpose fleet "reduced the City fleet by fifty-one vehicles and reduced fleet cost by more than four and a half million dollars since 2010."

Mr. Cason also included the "more than $25 mil in airport grants" received by the City during his tenure to renovate the City Airport and its infrastructure.

Blanche

A few years ago, during the Blanche Hotel turmoil and wheeling and dealing by City Manager Johnson and IDP (the developers), one agreement that City Manager Johnson had worked out with the Blanche management was that the City was going to move its City offices out of the municipal building and into the Blanche Hotel.

Before the final agreement was approved, sources informed this reporter that Mr. Cason was going to stand up at a Council meeting and announce the foolishness of the idea.

He never did. The City's commitment to move into the Blanche was removed from the contract.

Epilogue

Grayson Cason has been a part of the upper management team of the City of Lake City for the past 19 years. He is a man that worked quietly in the background and did not make waves.

Mr. Cason said he will use his retirement time to spend more time with his family.

Your reporter asked Mr. Cason if he had any parting remarks on the eve of his retirement.

He said, "It's been fun and I've enjoyed working with everyone."

Which is what anyone who knows Grayson Cason would tell you – is exactly what Grayson Cason would say.

Comments  (to add a comment go here) 

On May 18, 2019, a reader wrote:

Integrity is Grayson Cason. It is fortunate that the city employed such a man. He is well educated, qualified with 28 years experience in corporate business ,determined, detailed, and highly motivated. He has embraced every opportunity and been willing to do the job(s) he has been asked to do. He has met every situation with action and result. He has always stayed focused and mindful.
Lake City will be hard pressed to find another individual so committed.
Grayson Cason is an individual the people of Lake City should be proud to call their own.
Congratulations! Job well done!

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

 
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